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Ma Peche - dinner crowds?

r
robotcoupe Jun 4, 2010 06:11 AM

I'd like to try Ma Peche for dinner on a Thursday night between say, 7 and 8 pm. How have the waits been? I'll be with my parents, who have, maybe, 20 minutes in them before they get cranky. Barring this, I'm open to other midtown recs - just not of the super pricey variety. Thanks.

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Ma Peche
15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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  1. g
    gutsofsteel RE: robotcoupe Jun 4, 2010 08:30 AM

    It's a ghost town.

    12 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      Noodle fanatic RE: gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 09:06 AM

      What about weekend evenings? Roughly how much would dinner cost (including tip and tax) per person without alcohol?

      1. re: Noodle fanatic
        g
        gutsofsteel RE: Noodle fanatic Jun 4, 2010 09:12 AM

        You can look at the menu on line, on either their site or menupages.com

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          k
          kathryn RE: gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 09:23 AM

          The momofuku.com menu does not list prices.

          Menupages.com's one does, however, sometimes the prices on Menupages.com can be out of date.
          http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

          1. re: kathryn
            g
            gutsofsteel RE: kathryn Jun 4, 2010 09:26 AM

            That's current.

            1. re: kathryn
              Noodle fanatic RE: kathryn Jun 9, 2010 12:14 AM

              Kathryn - is the Bun Du Riz (rice noodles, spicy pork, sawleaf herb) served in a large steaming bowl of broth like a noodle soup, or is it more like rice noodles in a small pool of consomme? I'm seeing conflicting images on flickr. Thanks in advance.

              To everyone who has eaten at ma peche, would greatly appreciate if you could weigh in on the following. I'm going there for dinner later this week and trying to narrow down what to order. Would like to get your feedback on whether I should order or skip the following: (I'd read various reviews and looked on flickr for info on most dishes already, but am undecided on these due to shortage of info)

              - King Crab - I'll only order it if someone can confirm that the calamansi mayo is amazing and worth ordering. Otherwise I can just eat fresh king crab at home. i.e. I always order the oytsers at Momofuku Ssam because I think the kimchi consomme is truly stellar and is not something I can easily replicate at home.

              - Mussels - Is it unique or amazing? Or can a better executed version be found elsewhere?

              - "Asparagus/crab/yolk salad" VS. "Tripe/poached egg/jowl croutons frisee" - if I have to pick between the two, which would it be? Or are they both so good I should order both?

              Thanks in advance.

              1. re: Noodle fanatic
                ellenost RE: Noodle fanatic Jun 9, 2010 06:30 AM

                There are geat photos of almost all of the dishes at Ma Peche posted on Grub Street. Of the dishes you've listed I've had only the asparagus/crab/egg yolk salad and it was terrific! There are mini potato chips in the dish, and all of the components work great from both a flavor and texture standpoint. Loved the fried cauliflower appetizer and the scallops (main dish).

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                Ma Peche
                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

        2. re: gutsofsteel
          Bob Martinez RE: gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 09:10 AM

          Agreed. People I trust tell me it's 1/3 full in prime time.

          1. re: Bob Martinez
            Noodle fanatic RE: Bob Martinez Jun 4, 2010 10:06 AM

            Wonder if its because of the location? I consider myself a pretty big fan of the Momo empire, but as a downtowner, I couldn't bring myself to go up that "far".

            Thanks for the menupages tip guts+kathryn.

            1. re: Bob Martinez
              r
              robotcoupe RE: Bob Martinez Jun 4, 2010 10:23 AM

              Happy to hear that. I have a feeling once they get reviewed that the midtown set will catch on. Plenty of other restaurants in the area do just fine without downtowners. I'll pounce while I can!

              1. re: robotcoupe
                g
                gutsofsteel RE: robotcoupe Jun 4, 2010 10:25 AM

                I don't think so. The space is awful. It is not a midtown crowd pleaser. It's in a bad location for what it is. I think this was a mistake on Chang's part. But we shall see...

                1. re: gutsofsteel
                  c
                  chewbie RE: gutsofsteel Jun 4, 2010 11:16 AM

                  I agree. I work two blocks away and most people who I know that have tried it sat down for lunch on their first visit and got takeout thereafter. The sandwiches are surprisingly reasonable and very good. Every time I've been it's never been full but that's mostly for lunch.

                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                    r
                    RGR RE: gutsofsteel Jun 5, 2010 11:11 AM

                    Agree that the subterranean dining room decor leaves much to be desired -- especially if one had dined at Town in what was then a jaw-droppingly gorgeous space.

                    One of the most off-putting aspects of Ma PĂȘche's dining room design is that huge X-shaped communal table which dominates the room. I can't imagine that most Midtown dinner patrons would be charmed by that kind of seating. True, there are some free-standing tables + chairs with backs! (at least, they knew enough not to emulate the backless benches at the other Momofukus). But that communal table makes up the bulk of the seating. I think it's a huge mistake.

            2. erica RE: robotcoupe Jun 5, 2010 04:36 AM

              What are the recommended dishes on the dinner menu? Specifically, has anyone here tried the roast chicken?

              5 Replies
              1. re: erica
                k
                kathryn RE: erica Jun 5, 2010 07:47 AM

                This may help:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/700846
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/704973

                I think the dish that's gotten the most universal praise online is the pork ribs or the fried cauliflower.

                1. re: erica
                  s
                  Sneakeater RE: erica Jun 5, 2010 12:53 PM

                  The roast chicken is great: one of the best things on the menu.

                  But calling "roast chicken" is a bit of a misnomer.

                  What it is, is the fried chicken brick they used to have at Ssam Bar, but finished by being put back in skin and roasted rather than fried. Thus, they take some white and dark chicken meat and somehow bond it and then sous vide it, and then finish it by roasting.

                  In the buttermilk ramp gravy (or whatever it is they serve it with), it's just great.

                  1. re: Sneakeater
                    ellenost RE: Sneakeater Jun 5, 2010 06:13 PM

                    I'm planning on returning to Ma Peche this week for lunch, and have been undecided between the chicken and the scallops. Have you had the scallops yet? I've already had the pork ribs, the asparagus/crab/egg yolk salad and the chicken pate, and enjoyed them all.

                    1. re: ellenost
                      ellenost RE: ellenost Jun 7, 2010 10:32 AM

                      Just returned from lunch and had the scallops and shared the fried cauliflower. Both were great! The scallops (3 large) were buttery soft and full of flavor. The fried cauliflower with the fish sauce was simply "yummy"! The fish sauce wasn't fishy at all--simply delicious. Definitely will return for the chicken, and if I can find 5 willing dining companions, want to try the "Beef 7 Ways". Stopped by Milk Bar on my way out and bought a corn cookie and a "volcano" for later.

                    2. re: Sneakeater
                      erica RE: Sneakeater Jun 6, 2010 04:32 AM

                      That sounds fantastic! I am going to get over there very soon!

                  2. e
                    emsny RE: robotcoupe Jun 5, 2010 12:14 PM

                    We were there on a recent Thursday. At 7:30 it was pretty empty but by the time we left it was completely full.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: emsny
                      c
                      chowbie RE: emsny Jun 7, 2010 02:22 PM

                      I was there on a recent Wednesday at 6.45. I had the same experience as emsny.
                      The fluke ceviche, cauliflower and ribs were all outstanding. Squid salad was the only disappointment.

                      Also, your parents should be warned, you can't get dessert at the table (only cheese & after dinner drinks). If you want dessert, you have to transfer your bill upstairs to the bar, order a drink up there, & go buy your Milk Bar yummy things separately at the Milk Bar shop outside the bar, & bring them back to the bar & eat them. It's annoying even for non-cranky parents.

                      1. re: chowbie
                        r
                        robotcoupe RE: chowbie Jun 9, 2010 08:32 AM

                        Ugh - that is annoying. I can see the argument for that when you're trying to turn tables (and actually are full) but otherwise, come on. I am almost tempted to give up on the Chang empire altogether with all this ego-driven, hoop jumping. What ever happened to service?

                        1. re: robotcoupe
                          r
                          RGR RE: robotcoupe Jun 9, 2010 12:58 PM

                          The vacate-your-table-and-buy-desserts-in-the-Milk Bar idiocy, as well as the no reservations policy, may eventually have to be reversed because while the downtown crowd's lovefest with all things Chang makes them willing to go along, I don't think enough Midtown diners (1) care who Change is and (2) will be willing to put up with such inconveniences. Time will tell....

                          1. re: RGR
                            Bob Martinez RE: RGR Jun 10, 2010 09:56 AM

                            Reservations at Ma Peche are now taken.

                            http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/06/...

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                            Ma Peche
                            15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                            1. re: Bob Martinez
                              r
                              RGR RE: Bob Martinez Jun 10, 2010 10:09 AM

                              Quel surprise! lol Now, on to dessert and that awful X-shaped community table...

                              1. re: RGR
                                c
                                Cpalms RE: RGR Jun 10, 2010 01:45 PM

                                while I agree it's probably not for the older set, I really like the X table...Dessert at the table would be nice however, Ssam or noodle didn't used to have desserts either, they changed that, I bet the dessert policy changes at Ma Peche to....give this place some time to settle in, all of Chang's places are works in progress and they always end up pretty good...

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                                Ma Peche
                                15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                1. re: Cpalms
                                  thew RE: Cpalms Aug 11, 2010 10:48 AM

                                  what does age have to do with it?

                                2. re: RGR
                                  ellenost RE: RGR Aug 2, 2010 01:53 PM

                                  RGR,

                                  I had dinner at Ma Peche this past Friday night, and you'll be pleased to hear that the X-shaped community table has been separated into (I think) 4 community tables. BTW, the restaurant was full by 7:00 p.m. I think the good reviews are helping business. Food is still excellent (special praise about the new heirloom tomato salad, summer bean salad, summer spring rolls, and striped bass in spicy coconut soup with sweet potatoes). Service was very attentive.

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                                  Ma Peche
                                  15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: ellenost
                                    r
                                    RGR RE: ellenost Aug 2, 2010 02:07 PM

                                    ellenost,

                                    All I can say about the demise of that X-shaped monstrosity is, What took Chang so long?! If you are correct about there being 4 community tables, frankly, I think that's still ridiculous. They should keep just one and make all the other seating regular tables. That said...

                                    Even though I enjoyed our one lunch there, a return visit is not in our immediate future. I would never go there without a reservation, and the prix fixe menu does not appeal to me. Actually, there are very few dishes on the entire menu that I'd care to have. But I'm glad that you enjoy the food, especially since it's so convenient to your office.

                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                3. re: Bob Martinez
                                  k
                                  kathryn RE: Bob Martinez Jun 10, 2010 04:14 PM

                                  Making a reservation means you get a prix fixe that includes dessert, BTW:

                                  Chang has added more slots to his online reservation system. Introducing Ma Peche's new prix fixe lunch (two courses and something from Milk Bar for $25) and its 5 - 7 PM pre-theater dinner (two courses and something from Milk Bar for $35).

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                                  Ma Peche
                                  15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                  1. re: kathryn
                                    erica RE: kathryn Jun 11, 2010 04:07 PM

                                    Can you choose any two dishes on the pre-theatre or is it a set meal?

                                    1. re: erica
                                      ellenost RE: erica Jun 11, 2010 05:49 PM

                                      There are a few choices for each course. The menus are available at the Momofuku website. The cost is $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner.

                                      1. re: ellenost
                                        erica RE: ellenost Jun 12, 2010 03:16 AM

                                        Thanks! The roast chicken is on the menu.

                                        1. re: erica
                                          ellenost RE: erica Jun 12, 2010 05:18 PM

                                          I made a reservation for lunch next week. I know I'll be trying the steak for the main course, but am undecided between the squid salad and the spring rolls for the first course. (I've already had the pork ribs, and enjoyed them very much). It'll be interesting to see how they handle the dessert (any $ limit at Milk Bar--would love the crack pie, but I don't know what are the offerings).

                              2. re: robotcoupe
                                g
                                gutsofsteel RE: robotcoupe Jun 9, 2010 04:47 PM

                                Vote with your dollars.

                              3. re: chowbie
                                Noodle fanatic RE: chowbie Jun 11, 2010 01:27 PM

                                When I went yesterday, there was waiter service of Milk Bar desserts at the Mezzanine level. This is different from the bar area near the maitre d' desk. Still means that you'll have to move to a different area for Milk Bar desserts after dinner, but it saves you the hassle of grabbing the desserts yourself. For those of you who are missing the cake slices (which I'd never tried before), they now have truffle balls which essentially are sort of like munchkin-like cake bites - 3 for $3. Really enjoyed the chocolate malt cake, banana cake, and birthday cake in a guilt-free portion :)

                                The restaurant was about half full when we arrived on a Thursday night at 8pm, but filled up by the time we left.

                                My experience at ma peche last night:
                                We ended up ordering the fluke ceviche, short ribs, tripe frisee salad, and pate, all of which were good but not out-of-this-world amazing. The only outstanding dish I would go out of my way to get again would be the sausage & snails. Will definitely go back and try some other dishes, but was a bit disappointed that the raved-about dishes fell short for me last night. The busboys were a bit overzealous with clearing away plates you're still working on - so make sure to be firm and not let them clear away a plate that still has 1 piece of rib left on it.

                                Fluke Ceviche - served with strawberry sauce, arugula, and pistachios - very light and fresh

                                Lemongrass Caramel Pork Ribs - tasted good, but a bit too dry

                                Tripe Frisee Salad - if you normally eat tripe at dim sum, skip this dish, which was good, but probably won't wow you. The combination of pork jowl croutons, tripe, frisee, and poached egg was good, but it doesn't wow me like the frisee lardon I normally get at Cafe Cluny. Totally different recipe, but in my book, the purely French technique wins.

                                Fried Cauliflower - to my disappointment, was way too salty. I know David Chang loves his salt, but there was so much sodium in 1 piece of cauliflower that we had to return the dish. (In retrospect we should have asked them to check it, but the waitress said it's supposed to be salty and recommended we order something else instead). I liked the taste and texture, but wish it were much less salty.

                                Chicken & Morels Pate - this was yummy, but interestingly, the consistency is similar to that of Gio Lua, the meat you find in Vietnamese sandwiches See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha-lua. Served with toast, but I personally prefer the pieces of warm baguette that came with the snails.

                                Wild Burgundy Snails & Pork Sausage - I don't even care for ordering sausages normally, but this was phenomenal and very memorable - the highlight of the evening. A must-order item if you go. What an amazing way to prepare escargot!

                                1. re: Noodle fanatic
                                  ChiefHDB RE: Noodle fanatic Jun 11, 2010 01:46 PM

                                  I would stab a busboy for taking my plate with a rib left on it.

                                  Going tomorrow at around 6 to try to avoid the crowds. Looking forward to it.

                                  1. re: Noodle fanatic
                                    ellenost RE: Noodle fanatic Jun 11, 2010 02:08 PM

                                    Definitely agree about the overzealous busboys. I was having lunch at Ma Peche on Monday with two friends. As one person finished her plate, the busboy grabbed the plate even though the others at the table were still eating. One of my friends and I each had the scallops and loved them. We did love the fried cauliflower; our order was definitely not too salty (it's a shame your order was too salty). I want to go back to try the $25 prix fixe lunch--maybe next week or the week after; it's a great value. Me, I don't care whether I take back to the office a Milk Bar dessert.

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                                    Ma Peche
                                    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                              4. famdoc RE: robotcoupe Jun 15, 2010 08:09 PM

                                Good chance of scoring a table at this hour.
                                They have a $35 prix fixe from 6-7:30
                                Can reserve online through their web site.
                                We had the prix fixe on a Monday evening at 6:30. Room only half full.
                                Very attentive service, good value. Portions were adequate. Liked the squid salad and the grilled trout.
                                Very nice Austrian white wine on the list for $48, which complemented the Vietnamese influence nicely.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: famdoc
                                  ellenost RE: famdoc Jun 16, 2010 06:39 AM

                                  Great to know that the squid salad is good. I've been undecided between the spring rolls and the squid salad. I'm going this week for the prix fixe lunch. $25 seems like a great value!

                                  1. re: ellenost
                                    ellenost RE: ellenost Jun 16, 2010 11:07 AM

                                    Just returned from the prix fixe lunch at Ma Peche. Definitely great value for $25! I had the squid salad that was very tender and flavorful (delicate rings of squid accompanied by fish sauce, cilantro, scallions and pearl onions). I also had the steak frites (4 thick slices of very beefy-flavored medium rare steak and rice fries--delicious!). Dessert was a "taste" of cereal milk panna cotta and crack pie. I also had the pork spring roll that was very light (not fried); there were good sized chunks of very tender pork. The wrap was a soft skin. The spring roll was served cold. Service was very attentive. The restaurant was packed by 12:45.

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                                    Ma Peche
                                    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

                                    1. re: ellenost
                                      r
                                      RGR RE: ellenost Jun 16, 2010 03:05 PM

                                      ellenost,

                                      A few questions. Is the lunch reservation only for the prix fixe, or can one order from the a la carte menu? Presuming you were alone and so would not be at a table for two or four, were you seated at the raw bar or at the community table? And were you given a choice as to where to sit?

                                      1. re: ellenost
                                        r
                                        RGR RE: ellenost Jun 16, 2010 06:21 PM

                                        ellenost, I have to admit to being suprised that they offered you the two-top as an option but glad for your sake that they did.

                                        1. re: RGR
                                          ellenost RE: RGR Jun 16, 2010 07:04 PM

                                          The first time when I went to Ma Peche for lunch (about 12:45) all they had to offer was a seat at the raw bar. I think I lucked out today because I was very early. I wouldn't expect to get so lucky again. The good news about the seats at the raw bar is that the stools are very well padded (unlike Ko). I think a seat at the raw bar is rather interesting watching the chefs prepare the shellfish dishes.

                                        2. re: RGR
                                          famdoc RE: RGR Jun 16, 2010 08:49 PM

                                          Regardless of whether you reserved for the prix-fixe or not, they're happy to have you spend your money on the regular menu. We were still a bit hungry after the dinner prix-fixe, so we ordered a plate of the cauliflower. They didn't refuse our $12.

                                          1. re: famdoc
                                            ChiefHDB RE: famdoc Jun 16, 2010 09:18 PM

                                            When we went on Saturday for dinner at 6pm it was almost empty, but filled up to about 75% through the course of our meal. Some of the 6 of us ordered the dinner prix fixe, some didn't...like Famdoc said, they were happy to serve whatever we ordered, not an issue at all.

                                        3. re: ellenost
                                          a
                                          Anthony A RE: ellenost Aug 10, 2010 09:10 PM

                                          I tried the 3 course $25 prix fixe today with a friend. Overall we were pleased with the quality of the food. We mixed it up on the 2nd course between the pork loin and the porgy and we both had the squid salad for the first course. We also decided to share a bowl of the cavolo nero with lemon, bacon and bread crumb.

                                          Here is how I would rate the courses:

                                          First Course: Squid Salad- Very Good.

                                          Perfectly poached Calamari with a hint of Cilantro and tossed with a Fish Sauce Vinagrette and chili's. My only criticism was that the Fish Sauce was cut with a little too much water. I wanted to taste a little more funk that accompanies fish sauce. However, this is a small criticism and a personal preference. It was still a delicious salad.

                                          Second Course: Roasted Porgy with Eggplant Puree, Harissa, Tomato and Herbs: This was an outstanding dish and a display of the grasp that Chang and Co. have on flavor, texture and temperature. Perfectly roasted porgy sits atop a smooth eggplant puree with a dash of heat from the harissa and balanced by a the acid and sweetness of the heirloom cherry tomato salad. The porgy is also topped with a sprinkling of what looks like Boondi-a crispy fried in Indian snack made of chickpea flour. This gives added texture to the dish and balances some of the softer components of the composition.

                                          2nd Course Part 2- Pork Loin with Shishito Peppers and Ranch Ramp dressing.

                                          This was a poorly conceived dish. The components never tied together into a solid flavor composition. The pork loin was a little dry and I believe its generally a poor cut for a restaurant dish, because of lack of intermuscular fat and the high heat that cooks need to use to pick up the dish during service. The ranch ramp was an unappealing sauce with an off- flavor and the blistered shishito peppers while tasty by themselves, in no way tied into the flavor profiles of the dish. i do not even know why they were there.

                                          Vegetable side Cavolo Nero(breadcrumb, lemon and bacon) .

                                          It was a tasty dish if nothing revelatory. Bitter Greens larded in bacon fat are always a winner. If Mom would have added high quaility smokey bacon too her veggies when I was growing up I would have eaten my Kale more often. The portion size was a little too large for a bitter vegetable course.

                                          3rd Course- Petite fours( Cereal Milk Panna Cotta w Corn Powder and Mini Crack Pies)

                                          This was the WTF moment of the afternoon. The portion size was a calibrated for an extended multi course tasting menu, with the culmination being a two course dessert. It was way too minuscule for a 3 course prix fixe. Portion size is usually the last thing I will complain about in my dining experience, because I am fat and I generally do not want to feel bloated and uncomfortable after a meal, especially when I need to have a productive afternoon, but the portion was laughable. The upside was that it was delicious and left me wanting more as I was tempted to ask the dining pair seated next to us whether I could take the 2 petite fours they left behind. My dining companion promised bloodshed in the event I decided to breach conventional dining etiquette. Thus, I was left with no other recourse, but to lick the remaining corn powder from the panna cotta off of our plate to assuage the hunger pains.I personally believe the portion sizes on the dessert are kept ridiculously small to ensure that you pay a visit to Milk Bar on your way out.

                                    2. Rmis32 RE: robotcoupe Jun 16, 2010 09:42 AM

                                      Check out this review from the "Serious Eats" blog
                                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/0...

                                      1. m
                                        ManhattanLawyer RE: robotcoupe Jun 17, 2010 01:31 PM

                                        I just did the Beef 7 ways dinner Tuesday at 9 PM and the restaurant was probably half full when we were seated and almost empty by the time we left at 11:30. The Beef 7 ways dinner, incidentally, was great. Standouts were the tongue salad, the oxtail, shank, and consomme. I also enjoyed the supplemental 8th way which was a round of Epoisses. There were 11 of us and we had tons of food leftover - and we are all pretty good eaters!

                                        1. a
                                          atomusmaximus RE: robotcoupe Aug 11, 2010 10:45 AM

                                          A FAILED PROJECT AS OF NOW

                                          However, I do believe David Chang can turn it around.
                                          Especially with GM and Somm being replaced, this place may turn around.
                                          I really hope Chang hires some serious professionals this time

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: atomusmaximus
                                            b
                                            bookhound RE: atomusmaximus Aug 11, 2010 11:42 AM

                                            How is Ma Peche a failed project? What did you eat that you really didn't like and what was so bad about the service?

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                                            Ma Peche
                                            15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

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